Thanks to the efforts and vision of veterinary oncologists, a diagnosis of cancer can offer hope even in the face of staggering statistics: The number one natural cause of death in geriatric cats and dogs, cancer accounts for nearly 50 percent of pet deaths each year. Still, it’s one of our most treatable diseases.
Over the years, generous research support from organizations such as the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation has led to the creation of some of the first cancer vaccines. On a broader scale, newer treatment regimens are helping animals diagnosed with cancer to live longer lives with fewer side effects.
Many of these discoveries are now routinely used for pet cancer care worldwide. Radiation therapy, standard cancer treatment for decades, is now being delivered more safely and effectively. An entire line of inquiry focuses on redirecting the immune system to fight off cancer: for example, by developing immunotherapy programs to successfully treat cancers such as osteosarcoma, melanoma, and hemangiosarcoma.
Other work on cancer genetics seeks to understand how cancer cells survive and spread to different parts of the body. Reducing and preventing chemotherapy‚Äîinduced toxicity ‚Äî notably through pioneering the use of liposomes to deliver cancer-fighting drugs ‚Äî is another important agenda in the world of veterinary oncology.
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